And now, the red slime card! Since a side effect of one of the quests is that red slimes will spawn across the evergrind fields, it’s only fair they get a card of their own, wouldn’t you say?

And now a bunch of mixed stuff, including some sprites for a bunch of drops and bonus items you’ll get to see and use in these new quests:

As well as some smaller additions and improvements to Marino’s Mansion:

Next up, the boss portrait for another of the bosses you’ll be dealing with! This is one giant shrub, so what better name for it than Shruboss? :D

Now that everything on my part is done for the upcoming patch, I’m celebrating by making a portrait of another random Collector that you will find out and about in the fields:

Today we had a meeting discussing what we’ll do once this update is done, but we’ll dive into that next week once everything has been properly finished up for the update. Instead, let’s take a look at one of the final bits we’ll add before this update is ready to go live!

This is a sprite haunting a tree in the short additional Pumpkin Woods map we’ll be adding. It’s kind of getting sick of its surroundings and would like your help to find a new home. Because we haven’t decided on its colours yet I made three different versions of its portrait:

This week we’ll start off with a couple portraits! For starters, a new version of Remedi, this time in a female form (we just really can’t get that potion right, can we?)

And then we have the face of Spierre, the spear wielded by James Fawke, the guy you replaced for the arena challenge… :)

Next we have a bunch of expressions for James and his fanclub, which will be playing a pretty big role in the upcoming arena quest:

And then, the long awaited cave system you’ll reach by climbing up the little sapling in Pillar Mountains! This is the first of a whole set of rooms, more of which will be posted later on:

Now, time for a sneak peek of what Teddy and Fred has been up to: flying trolls! This here is a prototype of the battle against Remedi in his troll form. Looks pretty cool, right?!



More to come soon! :)

New week and new maps! Another piece of map needed is this one, featuring the barn next to the farm, where some strange shenanigans have been taking place:

Now, after starting to implement some of the mansion rooms, we decided on mixing up the layout at bit to make sure the rooms didn’t looks quite as similar. As such, there’s first a quick redesign of Marino’s dad’s “throne room”:

…As well as the hallway leading up to it, which now houses four different rooms instead of the original two:

Next we have a mixed bag with various fixes and additions, starting with a couple new banners for the arena, to replace the collector ones while you do the new quest:

A familiar face reappears in the desert, it’s the travelling merchant that visited Evergrind City during the festival, now selling fertilizers in the desert:

Marino’s mansion is getting a proper zone title, and… well, you guessed it, it’s called…

The posters are getting another version of themselves where they’re more like signs so we can place them all around town:

Next up we’re making a smashed up version of the alchemist’s house so you can battle the troll version of Remedi that you’ve been seeing parts of on the blog in the recent couple of week:

Meanwhile, Fred has been working on the troll, and here’s another sneak peek of a rather strange move:

Soon in a boss battle near you ;)

Time for another room in Marino’s mansion, and this time it’s his father’s throne room— errr the second corridor. The doors will lead to the master bedroom and Marino’s room respectively:

Next, another face from the Mansion, the private chef responsible for the fancy dinners hosted at the estate:

Now, for the actual quest challenge where you’ll be battling it out in the arena using some pretty trash but fancy looking gear! First up will be a couple of regular waves of enemies, featuring the various types you might have come across here and there across the game thus far. After that, there’s the grand finale, a mini boss battle/challenge featuring one or two elder boars!

In the first iteration, we had one elder boar and a bunch of red slime falling down from the sky:

As you can see, there’s puffs of smoke coming from the boar as he charges around, and stepping into these dust clouds will make you temporarily blinded!

As you can see, we have added a bunch of obstacles in the arena which you can lure the boar into, making it get temporarily dazed. These obstacles respawn in new positions after the boar has destroyed all of them, and as always with early prototype videos like these they graphics are placeholder:

As shown in the above video, we follow the ‘rage’ theme of the elder enemies with these boars as well!

In the next iteration we removed the red slime but added another boar! This is our favourite iteration so far, a bit more action packed and without the annoying slowing slimes:

Next thing I’ve been working on is some sweet PR for that event in the arena that we’re all so excited for! At first, James was the supposed hero of the show, so to start off with these posters will appear in Evergrind City around the time when you can accept the quest:

However, as James can’t attend and you’ve had to take his place, there will be slight adjustments once you’ve accepted the quest, meaning your face will be all over the posters instead! Of course, the PR team doesn’t have all the time in the world so there will have to be a quick solution instead of reprinting:

The actual face of your character will be rendered into those blank pages so you’ll be able to recognize your own character as the hero of this event! Hopefully you won’t let the PR team down with your performance in the show ;)

In Fred’s department, the animation madness continues with more sprites for the upcoming next bit in the journey to transform Remedi back to his former self! As such, a ‘death’ animation for the troll was needed, as well as a potion pitching move by Remedi’s quick nephew:

Hey guys! In case you missed it, the Frontline Beta has been updated since a few days back! Among the things that have been added you’ll find the Arcade rebalance, catalysts that will make your runs more difficult as you beat them, Pins and a whole bunch of smaller enemy changes. The full patch notes can be found here or on the steam community hub, as always! Please let us know what you think, and send us any feedback on what you like, dislike, or would like to see changed :)

Time to make that tree stump! I’ll be using the tree stump in Santa Fae as a base for the background and make it it fit the theme by adding moss, leaves and some seed things:

Next up, a cellar room used for a quest in the mansion where you need to clear out some pesky enemies that have invaded! Using the Giga Slime Arcade Mode boss room as a base for the size here:

We’ve also been working on an user interface for adding those catalyst you get that will make your runs more difficult! Here we’re playing around with various font sizes and colours:

To show a bit more emphasis on the statue and the catalysts added, we decided to fade the rest of the background into darkness as you play around with this:

Added ‘headlines’ with the name of the catalyst you’re adding:

Same as above but with more colours:

Then we tried it out with smaller text, making the readability better.

And the end result, big headline, small descriptive text all together in one line and in one colour, which we felt gave the best readability:

Next, work on Marino’s Mansion continues! This time it’s the library’s turn to be made…

Fred’s been busy animating those cute trees from last week:

And another NPC that will be involved in one of the quests in Marino’s Mansion:

Among other things! More next week :)

Our polishing continues with some new gameplay changes, this time featuring the enemies in the Temple of Seasons! To start off with, the tornadoes now spawn around the mage and player, and their movement speed is a lot slower:

The season knight’s spin can now be perfect guarded to push him away and make him stop:

And if you aim it well enough, he’ll deal damage to his friends as he’s pushed away:

It’s also time for another Collector! We’ll add a bunch of these to appear randomly during your adventures so it’s high time we make a couple more:

Another thing we’ve decided to add is discounted items at Shadier Merchant, the guy who sells you items in exchange for part of your max HP. There will now be a chance that one of the items is a particularly good deal; a stronger item for the level you’re on, or it’s priced lower. As such, I was tasked with making an indicator for discounted items:

Time for some more minor additions and changes! First up, a button for when you talk to Bishop and decide to change the difficulty settings by adding or removing those loop orbs; which we’ve decided to call ‘Catalysts’. The icon is supposed to indicate how you through this option can increase difficulty by adding another catalyst or decreasing the difficulty by removing one:

One of the oldest graphics in the game is that of the achievement trophy, so I decided to give it a quick makeover:

And finally, we decided to keep the Grindea-decorated fountains in Marino’s mansion for another part of the game, so instead I’ve been making some bee decorations for them:

So what Fred has started moving on to working with now is an entity you’ll find in the final dungeon. While I said we’ll focus on things not relating to the final dungeon for now, Fred has a lot of big animations to make for the last part of the game, so in order to avoid having a massive bottle neck where we’ll have to wait for his animations, we’ve decided that he should start working on some end game stuff after all.

And first up in that regard is this strange mirror artefact, which will appear throughout the tower and throw challenges your way. Here’s his progress on testing out various designs, as well as the one we picked in the end:

We continue to work on the various pin menus, and as a logical next step we need to make all sorts of graphics for the various places you’ll be able to look at your pins or see how many you’ve seen so far. First up, the title for where you can look at what pins you currently have equipped in the menu:

And next, the “shop title” of the Pin Collector where you can see all of the pins you’ve found so far; we decided against giving it a proper name, and went with the route of only showing a variety of pins:

And of course, the button which allows you to get to said list:

A little bit of news regarding the upcoming patch: unfortunately the cinema functions are quite broken and since we don’t feel like it’s vital for it to work before the patch (it will take quite a while to sort it out), we’ve decided to close the cinema for a little bit. People who haven’t bought it yet will receive a warning that it currently doesn’t work, while people who unlocked it already will get a slightly different interior:

Of course it’s our goal that it won’t remain like this for too long, and we hope it won’t be too much of an inconvenience, but right now we’d really like to get the patch up and running sooner rather than later, so fixing the cinema will have to come second to that! :)

Next up, some more gear for that set that will be used as part of a quest in the arena! These items aren’t too good stat wise but they look sort of cool?! Will you be able to survive an arena challenge wearing only these things?

As part of the new patch, we’re adding and improving on a bunch of things both for Arcade and Story Mode. A few of those things involve new projectiles and ‘tails’ for projectiles to make them easier to read:

 

 

And as for a thing that won’t make it’s way into this patch but will be available soon is this nice butterfly net, which will be used as part of a quest given by Luigi in Evergrind City, granting you one of those fertilizer you’ll use on the small plants you can find here and there across the game to make them grow:

 

In Freds department, he continues to make effects, both in general and for the loop orbs specifically. Here’s a collection of his work this far:

This week we’ve been busy turning the guest house into an office; which turns out involved two full days of carrying stuff back and forth as well as disassembling and reassembling a whole bunch of furniture… Phew!

Even after these two days we’re not completely done; we’ve been looking into getting new desks (of the kind you can also use to stand up and work), and new, better chairs, seeing as we’ve had these for an incredibly long time and they’re pretty much just the most basic type of IKEA chairs. I spent most of the evening Monday doing some research on that topic, so hopefully we’ll have a better and prettier looking office soon :)

For now though, it’s good to be able to work together again! And being this close to home, it’s a lot easier with lunch breaks and the like as well. Feels great so far!

Now, time for the last of James fans! We felt like two were a bit too few to give a sense of him having a following, so we decided to make one more:

One thing we’ve been talking about a lot recently is the difficulty setting for Arcade Mode and how to adjust it to make it the best possible experience for the most people. Our recent idea is to introduce something we call loops, that I think is a quite popular theme in roguelike style games: the game starts out fairly easy (well, not easy – but easier compared to the current default difficulty setting!), and once you’ve finished all floors once, you’ll unlock a more difficult version.

This will be done through accessing an item you can activate through Bishop, and there will be more than one difficult increase; for instance, our current idea is that Arcade will begin on what could be equivalent to Story Mode’s normal difficulty setting, then once you complete it once you’ll access Arcade Mode’s current difficulty setting through activating the item at Bishop. Complete that difficulty and you’ll unlock another item that will trigger your next runs to be as difficult as the current difficulty setting plus Candy’s Hard Mode curse.

The true ending for Arcade and the final battle would only be accessible if you manage to complete the whole game with all difficulty increasing items activated. You’ll also be able to deactivate them if you find the difficulty has become too much for you to handle.

How do you feel about this “loop” idea? Is it something you think you’d enjoy or do you prefer it the way things are now?

Meanwhile, Fred works on making all sorts of effects for the Pins and their various functions! Our goal is that every pin will have some sort of visual indicator for what they’re doing, so there’s a lot of random small effects to be made:

And then we have this one, an effect showing up as the Pin collector himself literally stumbles into the world of Arcadia! Soon it’ll all be in place.. :)

With the world around us slowly calming down a bit and more and more restrictions being lifted, we have been talking about whether or not to get back into some sort of office. The office hotel we previously used has closed down, but we do have a spare room where we live where we’ve previously housed guests so we’re thinking about turning it into a proper office for the time being.

As such, we made plans to move our desks and computers there as soon as it became available last weekend (Teddy’s mom has been staying over for the last couple months due to the corona virus, but these last couple weeks she’s been intent on moving back to her apartment, which she did on friday).

It’s possible we’ll look into a more permanent office in the future, but before we make any such move we want to see a more permanent decrease in the corona virus havoc that’s been going on. For now, it won’t make much of a difference for the three of us to meet in the office seeing as we don’t really see anyone else anyway, and I think after a couple months working from home it would be good for our motivation to get back to some proper routines and get a proper change of scenery.

Another one of the main topics on our minds lately has been the Pin Collector. Who is he, how will the pins be unlocked and at what part of the game? We’ve decided that he will appear randomly in a room after the player has played a certain amount: not too long, but at least a few runs so that they’re familiar with the way the game works without pins added.

He will appear through a dimension rift which will happen in the midst of a room. Here’s our first prototype of the scene:

Obvious use of placeholders including Marino, of course… haha!

Next, we’ve been playing around with adding some effects to give the impression of the pins scattering away:

This is also still a work in progress! We’re not completely happy with the way the pins literally seem to “scatter like a wind” if you want. We might look into having them scatter from him more like coins from a defeated enemy; or we might keep the effect separate from his appearance altogether. In any case, the testing continues! :)

Two new characters we’re gonna introduce in story mode are part of the fanclub surrounding James Fawkes! Starting off with the fangirl:

And second, that of the fanboy:

These characters will follow James along wherever he appears, cheering him on! Oh my..

And here’s Fred’s renditions of both James and his two fans! We’ve actually decided to add yet another fan to his bunch of followers, but that one will be added next week:

Going back to story mode for a bit, we’ve talked about the second quest for the Mansion and come up with a rather simple quest for the player to deal with the first time they’re allowed into the Mansion (which will be by the time you defeat Marino after Flying Fortress). Basically one of the maids want some help solving a small infestation of slime in the basement. Oh but what an infestation it is – not quite what you’d expect I think… :)

We’re also finally starting to fiddle around with the things you’ll access when you get the plant fertilizers and will access the areas currently unavailable (remember the small squiggly plants?). So far we know of three places these plants will be: the one in pillar mountains which will lead to a small reward, a little cave system leading back to the cave where you find the sandals (I believe) further down in pillar mountains, and upwards to an old an abandoned Grindea shrine which may or may not play a part in the later stages of the game…

Here are some sketches I made as we were talking about this place during the meeting, more to come later:

The one in Flying Fortress will simply lead you to a treasure, while the third will lead you to the mysterious tree stump house in Seasonne, where it seems you will get a reward and find a housing shop! We haven’t made any sketches for this yet, but I’ll likely start working on that once we finish up the mansion :)

First though, some more Pin stuff for Arcade Mode! There will be a part of the menu where you can see what Pins you currently have equipped, and so I made a little modified version of the Pin equip UI where you can see such things:

One suggestion on where to put this menu was to replace the crafting tab with it, seeing as crafting doesn’t serve a purpose in Arcade Mode, the other was to keep it under equipment. The latter suggestion was mainly because we wanted it to be in the same spot in both modes in a world where we were to include them in Story Mode in some form. For now though, that seems unlikely – so the Crafting tab will be replaced for now :)

Next step on the same topic is that we want there to be a place where you can see all of the pins that are available, as well as those you haven’t seen yet. This will be viewed through the Pin Collector who will hang out in town after you’ve unlocked him!

Here’s the progress:

Obviously each of the icons will be replaced with the corresponding Pin. The questionmark icons will signify a pin you haven’t seen yet but that you could find any run, while the lock means it’s a Pin you’ve yet to unlock. We haven’t yet decided if we will have pins you will unlock, but we’ve talked about having a new batch of pins unlock as a reward for certain quests or certain progression milestones; how do you guys feel about that?

Next up, another portrait for the mansion! This is the goblet, Marino’s dads trusted artefact! Finally some more sentient artefact for you guys to hang out with ;)

In Fred’s department we’re working on some cubes and other types of indicators for all of those pins that allows you to trigger an effect after x hits!

The cubes will grow in size the closer you are to unleashing the effect:

But he hasn’t forgotten about Story Mode! Here’s the shield to match the weapons seen last week: